Elli Papakonstantinou is an immersive performance director, activist, writer and cultural manager based in Athens, Greece. She is the artistic director of international theatre company ODC Ensemble. She writes and directs all of ODC Ensemble’s work.
Elli creates live performances with an emphasis on opera, new plays and new media. Her art connects notions of myth, politics and major contemporary narratives revisiting the Greek classics in site-specific immersive experiences that involve and connect multiple actors of the community.
During the crisis in Greece, Elli engaged herself beyond the “usual” role of a theatre director and artist to become politically engaged entrepreneur and connector of different actors in society. She has founded and directed Vyrsodepseio, a 3.000 sq.m. bottom-up cultural space in Athens (2011-2017). Vyrsodepseio is a vibrant cultural space, an evolving project for horizontal politics, social networking, synergies and co-operations in contemporary art, that focuses on international networking and promotes exchange between Greek and international organisations. Vyrsodepseio is a proud member of the two networks Trans Europe Halles and IETM.
Twice a Fulbright awarded artist, Elli spent 2004 at the Music & Advanced Media Department, at the Princeton University and 2018-2019 at Stanford University, CCRMA (Computer Center for Music and Acoustics).
She has been commissioned by European Capitals of Culture “Valetta18” (Malta), “Eleusis21” (Greece) and ‘Pafos17’ (Cyprus) and presented work at the European Parliament for Culture in 2017. Her creations have toured internationally including representing Greece at PQ (Prague Quadrennial 2015).
Amongst other artistic achievements, her last work the Cave wan ‘Music Theatre Now 2018-19’ international competition, while for other works she has received a “First Prize Award” at the Edinburgh Festival, (UK) and a “First Prize Award 2017” for the REP, Birmingham (UK).
Elli has lived in the UK for over a decade and has created and presented her work in international festivals and venues like: Edinburgh Festival (UK), LaMaMa E.T.C., (USA), Prague Quadrennial 15 (CH), National Theatre of Greece (GR), Inauguration Ceremony of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (EG), Operadagen Festival (HL), Neukoellner Oper Berlin (GE), First International Festival Iraq (IQ), Megaron (National Concert Hall) (GR), Musikteatre Festival (AU) and more.
Elli has sat at the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Broadcasting Coorporation for two years. She has been appointed President of the Board for Film Funding, ERT, Greece for two years (2015-2017). During this time, she worked to successfully relaunch film funding ERT platforms that had been inactive for almost a decade.
She holds a BA at the School of Arts, University of Thessaloniki (GR) and an MA and M.Phil at the Royal Holloway, University of London (U.K.).
Elli is currently credited with a “Fulbright Award 2018-19” and is a visiting scholar at the CCRMA, Stanford University, USA for her upcoming creation Oedipus: Sex with Mum was blinding, supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture, the NEON foundation and the Warburg Institute, University of London. She is also currently commissioned by Festival de Regionen to create a new piece that will be presented in the Concentration Camp of Mauthausen (AU).
“One of the best representatives of Greek avant-garde, Elli Papakonstantinou, never seizes to surprise us.
Elli’s 3 strong points
Audience engagement: Since Vyrsodepseio [VYRSO], the hot spot of postmodern Athenian stage, Elli shapes theatre into live experiences driving audiences to long promenades within industrial spaces.
Music: Music works in a transcendental way taking audiences into a space-time beyond the ordinary.
Extroversion: Her work evolves through international residencies and collaborations over time, while touring internationally”
ATHINORAMA, Maria Kryou,Elli Papakonstantinou: The persistent representative of the Greek avant-garde, 28/1/2018
“ODC’s performative energies and live art strategies go beyond the representation or anticipated avant-garde theatricality. Capitalising on lived experiences and socio-political awareness, ODC’s work bursts with the power of live art, urging us to revolt by way of questioning our empirical reality and critically engaging with it”. Maria Konomi, Lived Aesthetics of crisis and performance politics of discontent.
Jury’s Statement, MusicTheatreNow competition:
“The work takes us by storm with its powerful sound and visuals from the very first minute. Very much like today´s worldwide “reality”: a cacophony of social media, “news,” non-stop visual information, and the voices of the multiple channels of information that bombard us from dawn to dusk. But, is this “reality” or are we still trapped in Socrates’ cave?”
“Elli Papakonstantinou dares to speak out about painful things, both in Greece and abroad. Papakonstantinou toys with clichés and turns them upside down, leading Revolt Athens to its chaotic denouement which serves perhaps both as an exorcism and as a warning. After all, we should know by now that Papakonstantinou has a talent for bringing to life such moments of euphoric anarchy.” POPAGANDA , Giorgos Voudiklaris, At the Athens Festival premier, 16/6/2016
“Yesterday, it was as if a bomb exploding at the foundations of Athens Festival. Revolt Athens, a deliberately disturbing and chaotic performance kicked off this year’s programme at the Peiraios 260 venue. Papakonstantinou and her ensemble do not beat around the bush: what they really mean to do is to (re) negotiate our turbulent historical present.”
ATHINORAMA, Iliana Dimadi, We saw REVOLT ATHENΣ, 16/6/2016
“A performance that made us believe 500 years ago Shakespeare was actually writing for Greece in crisis.” Eleftherotypia-printed edition, Christos Zografos, The nowdays’ face of Richard II, 27/2/2014
“If theatre is an empty space that is meant to be revisited, with each new performance presented at Vyrsodepseio Papakonstantinou restructures the entire space to match her dramatic concept. The interior of the building is reshaped to receive a site-specific performance, with the director employing new ideas, new structural material and new spaces, wherein the audience can wander. Eleftherotypia, Dimitris Tsatsoulis, Α trip to Utopia, 3/6/2013
“Explosive and epic work, by turns horrific and hilarious, appalling and endearing, is wonderfully brought to the stage thanks to Elli Papakonstantinou’s imaginative direction.”
TO VIMA, D. Maronitis (translator of Homer’s Odyssey into modern Greek), 30/8/2009